US clinical trial for coronavirus vaccine to begin on Monday

A scientist tests vials for the coronavirus at the University of Washington Medicine virology lab, on March 13, 2020, in Seattle, Washington. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - A clinical trial to evaluate a vaccine designed to protect against the new coronavirus will begin on Monday (March 16), the Associated Press reported, citing an unnamed United States government official.

The first participant in the trial, which is being funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and taking place at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, will receive the experimental vaccine on Monday, the AP reported.

It would take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine, the AP added, citing public health officials.

According to the report, 45 young and healthy volunteers will be tested with varying doses of the vaccine shots co-developed by NIH and Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Moderna Inc. The report said participants do not stand the risk of getting infected through the shots because they do not contain the virus, with the tests aimed at looking out for any worrying side effects.

Dozens of research groups around the world have started research on developing a vaccine to counter the coronavirus. In the US, the Pennsylvania-based Inovio Pharmaceuticals is looking to start safety tests for a possible vaccine next month, while similar efforts are under way in China and South Korea, the AP reported.

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